Your wastewater pump and the OHS procedures required for routine maintenance and troubleshooting giving you a headache? Feel like the crane operator is on your phone’s favourites list? Wish there was a better way? We all know the story too well. Pumps always break down at the most inconvenient time, during the football or when you are at a family BBQ. The call-out comes– here we go again huh??? Whether it be a blockage, broken parts, or routine maintenance, the complicated and costly procedure slows down productivity and has high risks associated with the process.

SWMS taking too long - safer operation of pumping equipment


Once the wet well covers are open, the myriad of WHS high risk issues mount up. How do we eliminate the risks of personal injury and even death:

• falling into the wet well

• drowning

• confined spaces

• cranes and safety issues associated




If you use an existing submersible pump, the SWMS process can include but is not limited to:

• Safety Harness equipment and fitting

• Working at heights skills and certifications

• Working Over water skills and Certifications

• Tripod to connect safety harness

• Working with heavy swinging weights if you need to hook a chain to submersible pump.

• Crane booked, delivered, operator, skills and certifications

• Hook the submersible pump to the crane.

• Dogman and Watchperson to supervise use of crane.

• If we have to go down inside wet well to remove pump stuck on from guiderail or discharge ben, there is the need to lower someone down on a winch

• Confined Spaces Skills and Certifications

• Lowering staff requires breathing apparatus – equipment booked, delivered, skills and certifications.

• On a yearly basis need to ensure all rated equipment is re-certified. Some equipment needs to be replaced even if not used if its shelf life has expired

• Start off with pump down in well – 3 people required for service and maintenance. On surface all risks eliminated and only one person required. Almost all of these tasks are in the Higher Risk (centre and red area) of the Hierarchy of Controls shown below:

Heirarchy of controls - SWMS risk assessment


Many of these risks are eliminated with above ground self-priming pumps. The main difference being that the wet well covers do not need to be opened. Above ground pumps pull the water up, only the pipes are underground. The use of self-priming Gorman-Rupp pumps eliminates all safety risks associated with cranes, and wet wells. By eliminating the risks instead of having to manage them by increased participation and supervision, the chances of a mishap decreases along with the costs of maintaining systems associated with these risks. When these risks are eliminated, many ancillary costs and systems can be reduced or eliminated. The likes of rated lifting chains and the need to regularly inspect and replace them, height safety gear and the need for inspecting and replacing these and the need for training and keeping registers for all this equipment is all greatly reduced when the risk is eliminated.

Workers around a wet well

Above ground self priming pumps

Above ground self priming pumps are much safer to operate, service and maintain, as most risky OHS risks are eliminated.